An audience-oriented approach to online communication in English: the case of European university museums' websites

Bartolini, Chiara (2020) An audience-oriented approach to online communication in English: the case of European university museums' websites, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Traduzione, interpretazione e interculturalità, 32 Ciclo. DOI 10.6092/unibo/amsdottorato/9387.
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This thesis investigates online communication in English on European university museums’ websites. It explores the extent to which the production of institutional web texts in English is informed by an audience-oriented approach, and more specifically by the awareness of the need to address readers with different cultural and linguistic backgrounds. A combination of quantitative and qualitative approaches provides the methodological framework for this research. First, a survey of English-version websites of European university museums is carried out to assess the extent to which the latter produce content in English on their websites. A corpus including a selection of web pages in English from European university museums’ websites is analysed by focusing on two aspects: the extent to which texts comply with web writing guidelines, and the extent to which they establish a relationship with their intended readers through stance and engagement features. Finally, semi-structured interviews with staff from a subset of museums are conducted to shed light on the creation of museum web contents in English. The results of the survey suggest that university museums in Europe tend to provide an English-version website. The text analysis shows that university museums in the UK seem to be more committed to an audience-oriented approach to communication than those in other countries. Finally, insights from the interviews reveal that the production of texts in English does not seem to be informed by the idea of a specific intended audience, and even less so a linguistically diverse audience. These results contribute to current research on the conceptualisation of museum audiences, the processes underpinning museum communication and the use of English as an international language on institutional websites. The research stresses the need for an interdisciplinary exchange between museum and heritage studies on the one hand and linguistics and intercultural studies on the other hand.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Bartolini, Chiara
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
online communication, institutional discourse, museum discourse, English as an international language, visitor-oriented approaches, constructivist approaches, audience engagement
Data di discussione
31 Marzo 2020

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